High-profile Indian investors have long pursued growth-stage and late-stage deals, putting unprecedented amounts of cash into the world’s second largest internet market. However, as a sign of increased investor confidence in Indian entrepreneurs, even early-stage businesses that have received little attention in prior years are now sharing the spotlight.
According to individuals familiar with the situation, more than 70 early-stage Indian businesses are now in advanced stages of discussions to seek capital. The investments range in size from a few million dollars to up to $100 million.
The usual disclaimer applies in our reporting: many transactions have not yet concluded, and their terms may alter or the conversations may not result in an investment. The transactions detailed here have not previously been published.
Sequoia Capital India, the country’s most prolific investor, is in talks to invest in over a dozen Indian startups, including Register Book, which runs an eponymous bookkeeping app; Vah Vah, which runs an app to educate people about makeup from artists; SaaS platform BambooBox, and email marketing software provider MailModo.
The business is also in discussion with venture fund Nexus to invest in OneCode, a business that runs an app that connects digital-first businesses with sellers. Sequoia Capital India, which created Surge, a special fund for early stage entrepreneurs two years ago, is also in negotiations to invest in Probo, an app that forecasts future trends, and Rattle.
Better Capital’s Vaibhav Domkundwar claims that the early-stage startup ecosystem in India has never been this hot.
“Pre-seed and seed-stage momentum is at an all-time high, but we are also seeing pre-emptive rounds at Series As and Bs right now,” he told TechCrunch.
Domkundwar, who has financed over 140 startups, including Khatabook and neobank Open, ascribed some of the enthusiasm to India’s new generation of founders, who he claims are developing product-first and distribution-first businesses. “We are witnessing the most rapid rate of investment in these teams,” he added.
Another investor, who requested anonymity, stated that second-time startups may now solicit funds from elite angels, unicorn founders, and micro VCs using a PowerPoint or a Notion doc. The investor described the entrepreneurs’ ability to seal the sale as “amazing.”
Card91, a plug-and-play payments platform, has been approached by many investors but has not yet closed the round. Tournafest, as well as Easy Eat and Stockgro, have concluded a round of funding from a group of angel investors. Kosh has received funding from YC and VentureSouq, among others.
Nandan Nilekani’s Fundamentum is in negotiations to invest in Bijak, a business-to-business platform for agricultural commodities, and Reshamandi, a supply chain company.
According to the findings of an InnoVen Capital study, which were released on Thursday, more than 80% of the investors polled stated their dealflow for early-stage businesses grew this year compared to 2020